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Novel species interactions: American black bears respond to Pacific herring spawn

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Ecology, May 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)

Mentioned by

2 blogs
19 tweeters
1 Facebook page


15 Dimensions

Readers on

60 Mendeley
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Novel species interactions: American black bears respond to Pacific herring spawn
Published in
BMC Ecology, May 2015
DOI 10.1186/s12898-015-0045-9
Pubmed ID

Caroline Hazel Fox, Paul Charles Paquet, Thomas Edward Reimchen


In addition to the decline and extinction of the world's species, the decline and eventual loss of species interactions is one of the major consequences of the biodiversity crisis. On the Pacific coast of North America, diminished runs of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) drive numerous marine-terrestrial interactions, many of which have been intensively studied, but marine-terrestrial interactions driven by other species remain relatively unknown. Bears (Ursus spp.) are major vectors of salmon into terrestrial ecosystems, but their participation in other cross-ecosystem interactions is similarly poorly described. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), a migratory forage fish in coastal marine ecosystems of the North Pacific Ocean and the dominant forage fish in British Columbia (BC), spawn in nearshore subtidal and intertidal zones. Spawn resources (eggs, milt, and spawning adults) at these events are available to coastal predators and scavengers, including terrestrial species. In this study, we investigated the interaction between American black bears (Ursus americanus) and Pacific herring at spawn events in Quatsino Sound, BC, Canada. Using remote cameras to monitor bear activity (1,467 camera days, 29 sites, years 2010-2012) in supratidal and intertidal zones and a machine learning approach, we determined that the quantity of Pacific herring eggs in supratidal and intertidal zones was a leading predictor of black bear activity, with bears positively responding to increasing herring egg masses. Other important predictors included day of the year and Talitrid amphipod (Traskorchestia spp.) mass. A complementary analysis of black bear scats indicated that Pacific herring egg mass was the highest ranked predictor of egg consumption by bears. Pacific herring eggs constituted a substantial yet variable component of the early springtime diet of black bears in Quatsino Sound (frequency of occurrence 0-34%; estimated dietary content 0-63%). Other major dietary items included graminoids (grasses and sedges), Phaeophyta (brown algae), Zosteraceae (seagrasses), and Talitrid amphipods. This research represents the first scientific evidence of a cross-ecosystem interaction between Pacific herring and American black bears. Our findings also expand knowledge of the ecological roles of both species. Combined, evidence of anthropogenic constraints on both black bears and Pacific herring suggests that bear-herring interactions were potentially stronger and more widespread in the past.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 19 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 60 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 2%
Canada 1 2%
Unknown 58 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 13 22%
Student > Master 9 15%
Student > Ph. D. Student 7 12%
Student > Bachelor 7 12%
Professor 3 5%
Other 8 13%
Unknown 13 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 22 37%
Environmental Science 13 22%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 4 7%
Arts and Humanities 1 2%
Business, Management and Accounting 1 2%
Other 6 10%
Unknown 13 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 25. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 01 June 2021.
All research outputs
of 21,326,488 outputs
Outputs from BMC Ecology
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from BMC Ecology
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Altmetric has tracked 21,326,488 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 427 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 13.4. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 249,885 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them